Football: Otto's originality delights Taylor

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The Independent Online
Southend United. . . .4

Charlton Athletic. . .2

THE card list of three red and three yellow, all issued in the last 22 minutes yesterday, gives the wrong impression of a match in which Ricky Otto

delighted Southend's biggest crowd of the season with his skills and signed off with a goal.

Peter Taylor, who enjoyed his first win as Southend's manager, thinks he has a potential jewel in the rough diamond his predecessor, Barry Fry, picked up cheap from Leyton Orient last summer. 'I talk about him as another Ryan Giggs,' the former Tottenham winger said.

He was certainly not the player Charlton needed to encounter at a time when they can do little right, especially as Southend had lifted themselves out of goalless post-Fry blues with a handsome thrashing of Padova in the Anglo-Italian Cup last week. No goals and no points from Charlton's previous two Endsleigh League First Division games did not suggest serious promotion potential and a pretty but gutless display yesterday made the players's squad numbers and shirt names look all the more pretentious.

One of Chris Powell's dangerous forays from left-back set up Southend's opening goal in the 18th minute after Otto's cross was half cleared. Powell created space for another cross, headed in by Keith Jones. Jason Lee had spurned a good chance before Gary Jones flicked on a long clearance and Lee sidestepped Charlton's goalkeeper, Mike Salmon, before adding a second in the 36th.

Charlton looked out of it despite the mounting corner count in their favour, but inspired by Leaburn's lunge that made it 2-1 at the interval, they claimed the lion's share of possession after it only to toy with the ball like pussy cats.

In the last 12 minutes the game snapped back to life. A cross from Southend's substitute, Graham Bressington, gave Otto the chance to show off his favoured left foot, flashing a drive into the far bottom corner to extend the lead to 3-1. Then the substitute was required in the back four after Mick Bodley wrestled down the Charlton substitute, Kim Grant. He collected the first dismissal and Graham Pooley produced his red card again after Walsh gesticulated at a linesman.

Charlton's other replacement, Alan Pardew, stroked a curling shot beyond Sansome to make it 3-2 and it was on to the big finish in injury time. Otto invited Lee to round Salmon and hit a shot. Phil Chapple blocked it with his arm and

after he had trudged off, Bressington wrapped up the scoring from the spot.

Southend United (4-3-3): Sansome; Poole, Edwards, Bodley, Powell; Hunt, K Jones, Gridelet; G Jones (Bressington, 77), Lee, Otto. Substitutes not used: Mooney, Royce (gk).

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Salmon; Balmer, Chapple, McLeary, Minto; Robinson (Pardew, 70), Pitcher, Walsh, Robson; Nelson (Grant, 58), Leaburn. Substitutes not used: Vaughan (gk).

Referee: G Pooley (Bishop's Stortford).